Welcome to the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew

High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew – Policies, Acknowledgement and Assumption of Risks and Hazards

Understanding and Acceptance of Policies, Risks and Hazards 

Policy for Photographing volunteers at events:

  • Pictures are taken at our events for social media and for reporting requirements required by public land managers. It is assumed that you agree to having your picture taken and that it may be published. If you do not wish to have your picture taken or published it is your responsibility to let us know at or before the event.

Policy for firearm possession at HSVTC events:

  • The possession or presence of weapons and firearms is strictly prohibited on our activities in the absence of special advance approval – written permission from Rick Fleming and a review and approval of the HSVTC, Board of Directors, US Forest Service, State of California Department of Justice, and local sheriff’s department approval. This approval process takes up to one year to complete.

Policy for pets attending HSVTC events. Dog owners must be in compliance with these policies or will be asked to leave the event.

  • All dogs must have proof of current rabies vaccination
  • All dogs must be on leash while in base camp and around the campfire
  • No dogs are allowed in kitchens, cooking areas and food-serving locations
  • If any dog that exhibits anti-social behavior toward volunteers, forest service employees or other persons, the owner will be immediately instructed to remove the pet from the location and restrained until notified that restraining is no longer needed
  • The care and feeding of any pets is the responsibility of the owner

Policy for illicit drug, medical marijuana use and any form of intoxication by those attending HSVTC events.

As a reminder to each of you, most of the work that is done by the Trail Crew is performed on federal land primarily within our National Forests. Much of the work that is done by the Trail Crew involves hard and sometimes dangerous work where it is critical that the volunteers and staff not be under the influence of any drug or alcohol.While the State of California permits medicinal use of marijuana under certain specified conditions, it is still a federal crime to possess, use or sell marijuana. In order to maintain our working relationship with our federal government partners, the Board of Directors of the Trail Crew feels it important that the Trail Crew and its volunteers and staff comply with federal law at all times.As a result, the Trail Crew does not permit its volunteers or staff to possess or use marijuana at any of its events or work even if that use is permitted under California law. If you are found to be in possession or under the influence of marijuana at a Trail Crew event, you will be asked to leave the premises immediately. The Trail Crew continues to prohibit the possession or use of any illegal drug at any time and continues to prohibit its volunteers from performing any work under the influence of drugs or alcohol. By participating in any Trail Crew event, you agree to abide by the Trail Crew policy regarding the possession or use of marijuana.

Acknowledgement and Assumption of Risks and Hazards

By volunteering to participate in any activity of the HSVTC, you are bound by all the terms and conditions of this Acknowledgement and Assumption of Risks and Hazards. Inherent in the volunteer work in which you have chosen to participate are many risks and hazards that exist in the field. This Agreement is intended to be as broad and inclusive as is permitted by law. If any provision or any part of any provision of this Agreement is deemed invalid or legally unenforceable for any reason, the remainder of this Agreement shall not be affected and shall remain valid and fully enforceable. If you participate in any activity of the HSVTC, you do so subject to and bound by this Acknowledgement and Assumption of Risks and Hazards. If you are not willing to voluntarily assume these risks, whether specifically listed below or not, you may not participate in the activity. The list below does not cover all possible risks or hazards but is intended to be illustrative of those risks and hazards, and to ensure you understand that the activities do entail serious risks and hazards, some of which may be unforeseen and not in the control of the HSVTC.

1) Much of the work involved is at high altitudes. People react differently to high altitude exposure. Risks include: the possibility of altitude sickness, which can be severe enough to cause death in some cases; nausea, vomiting; shortness of breath, and lack of energy. Some people lose the ability to make coherent judgments at high altitudes.

2) There may be weather conditions which result in volunteers becoming wet and/or cold, or conditions that cause slippery and unsafe terrain, increasing risk of injury. The temperatures that you experience may leave you exposed to hypothermia (if very cold), heat- or sun-related injuries or illnesses including sunburn, sunstroke, or dehydration (if very hot), either of which may diminish reaction times or increase the risk of accident or injury. Hypothermia and sunstroke, as examples, can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

3) The presence of your own personal physical problems or health conditions or symptoms. The work we do involves strenuous physical activities. HSVTC does not require a medical certificate or clearance from a doctor for you to participate on trips, and you are responsible for determining whether your health and physical condition are robust enough to participate in the activity.

4) The risks associated with travel to and from project sites. Travel to and from the sites may involve both well-maintained public roads and poorly or unmaintained back roads, all of which present potential risk of accident or injury. HSVTC or the agencies it is working with also provide occasional transportation using a variety of vehicles, including off-road; fixed-wing aircraft or rotorcraft, all of which may involve risks of different kinds.

5) There may be present at different locations wildlife such as mountain lions, bear, deer, poisonous snakes and insects, any of which could be hazardous to your health, and poisonous or toxic plants such as poison oak and ivy which can cause skin rashes and allergic reactions, which are sometimes quite severe.

6) Water at the project sites or otherwise available near work sites may be unsafe to drink.

7) Site locations are often very remote, so there could be significant delays for any number of reasons in reaching medical care if needed.

You should also be aware that through the HSVTC’s relationship with the USFS and other agencies, while working on federal property, you will be considered a federal employee for purposes of any tort claims or compensation for work injuries. This may very well alter any rights you otherwise have to make claims for compensation. HSVTC makes no representations or warranties about your legal rights in this regard or any other.

To the fullest extent allowed by law, I agree to WAIVE, DISCHARGE CLAIMS, AND RELEASE FROM LIABILITY the HIGH SIERRA VOLUNTEER TRAIL CREW, the United States Forest Service, and any other participating governmental agency, their officers, directors, employees, agents, and leaders from any and all liability on account of, or in any way resulting from Personal Injuries or Property Damage of any kind, even if caused by negligence of the High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew or its officers, directors, employees, agents, and leaders.

I further agree to HOLD HARMLESS all of said parties from any claims, damages, injuries or losses caused by my own negligence while a participant in the activity. I understand and agree that this assumption of risk and release is binding upon my heirs, executors, administrators and assign, and includes any minors accompanying me on the activity.

I have read this document in its entirety understand the policies and I freely and voluntarily assume all risks of the activity whether identified herein or not.